• Ace

Review: The Creepy Lair

Mastermind Escape Room, St Louis, MO

#1, Lost, $26/person

Although we’d each done a couple of rooms separately, this was the first time that Team Bluefish went through an escape room together! We’ve been through quite a lot of rooms since then, so keep in mind that we’re looking at this room through lenses of memory and experience acquired later.

As you might have guessed from the name, “The Creepy Lair” puts you in a favorite escape room situation: the locked house of a serial killer who has promised to return in one hour (after he goes to Home Depot to pick up some power tools for our presumed torture). Our game master led us into a darkened room, gave us an exceedingly creepy intro, then yelled “GOOD LUCK!” and slammed the door, leaving us in near darkness.

Since then, Team Bluefish has learned that Team Bluefish is sometimes Team Scaredy-Cats. We’re easily frightened. Sometimes a little too easily. Sometimes because I can’t resist walking away and sneaking back to brush up against Anna in the dark. However, we didn’t have to worry about being in the scaredy-dark for too long, because we quickly found a light switch to illuminate the room.

For the first time, we were introduced to what would be our recurring nemesis: Search-And-Find. This room relied heavily on exploring the room and interacting with many of the props. As you know if you read some of our other reviews, Team Bluefish is not great at Search-And-Find.

Despite that, we had a good time trying to track down clues in this room. The room was a little bit sparse, but it was totally believable as the home of a lone crazy. Everything we found felt like it could’ve been there naturally, and the hiding places felt real— that is to say they were not as contrived as some of the other hiding places we’ve seen. One of the puzzles in the later game involved a towel, and is still one of the ones that comes to my mind when I think of cool “Ah-ha!” moments.

This was a perfectly good room, but there are a couple of things that stop it just short of being called great. One was a puzzle that took a pretty large leap, and although we can’t talk about it here, was actually the original inspiration for one of our 10 Commandments of Escape Rooms. The other thing was what we believe was a mechanical problem that held us back for some extra time, and almost ended up injuring me when it did work. Thankfully, I wasn’t hurt, but that part of the game needs some work.

The room was fun. We still had several puzzles left to complete when our time was up, but since there was no clock in the room, we had some trouble pacing ourselves. For two people who had never done an escape room together before, we were probably over-reaching by starting with this one, but we’d still definitely recommend it. Don’t be afraid of the dark theme, there’s a lot of fun to be had in this room.

Final rating for The Creepy Lair

Puzzles: One or two standout puzzles, but the room didn't feel like we needed much logic. Theme: Fairly strong, but the room loses some points for how sparse it was. Game Master: Excellent. Invested in the theme. Provided the right amount of assistance. Upkeep: Ok, but some props were broken from previous groups, and one took more force than it should have. Customer Service: Excellent. We booked on short notice, and everyone we talked to was helpful and excited. Extras: -1 each for the puzzle that took too big of a leap, and the puzzle that was a little dangerous.

MORE Puzzles, Please

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